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In February 2021, the luxury brand, Valentino, put out a tweet featuring a video of Kenyan social media influencer, Elsa Majimbo (now 21), speaking about her children’s book collaboration with the global fashion brand. In the build-up to the announcement, the brand’s account had declared, “It’s Elsa’s world, we’re just living in it.”

They could not have been more right.

By the beginning of 2020, hardly anyone had ever heard of Majimbo, which has made her rise into global popular culture all the more fascinating to watch. Though her Instagram account had been active as far back as 2016, it was her COVID lockdown content that marked her ascent as many turned to digital content for sense of community and engagement. In one of her early lockdown videos posted to Instagram on 27 April 2020, Majimbo pokes fun at people who keep insisting that “We are going out after lockdown,” and quips, “Are we going to pay for my Uber?”

Often, Majimbo, who has 2.5 million Instagram followers and 1.2 million TikTok followers, would post herself with her hair in simple plaits and biting into a bag of crisps; her energy of someone entirely unfazed by the isolating circumstances of the pandemic. The themes she spoke to were simple and relatable, and the quality of her videos was often grainy, creating an aesthetic somewhere between the amateurish and the unbothered. As British Vogue reported: “Majimbo became a leading example of how to foster a cult following on the internet with only an iPhone 6, a bag of crisps and a pair of tiny 1990s sunglasses.”

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Image: Photo by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash


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